Prospective Students




College and Departments

The College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED) is comprised of a unique blend of five built-environment professional majors that are not found in the same college anywhere else in the United States. We bring together a continuum of all the professions that collaborate in helping society and clients imagine, plan, design, build and operate their regions and buildings. By clustering all these programs in one college, our students can share their educational experiences and studio projects with majors who will later collaborate in the workplace.

These five departments constitute the disciplines that affect the quality of our built environment. Their synergy in our college creates a rich learning experience in which students gain specific knowledge and skills related to their chosen discipline while gaining direct experience with other fields. Students will also understand how their future profession integrates into the larger world of environmental design, where hundreds of people from industries, communities, and government participate. We strive to prepare all our majors to work globally on innovative teams at the leading edge in creating sustainable and meaningful places.

All of our programs have high rankings. Major employers hail our graduates as among the best in the nation, citing that they are ready to take on challenges immediately and promote to leadership positions quickly.

College and Departmental Characteristics

As you explore and get to know us, please read the current Dean's Message to learn about our educational vision and critical characteristics. Our majors are built around educational experiences heavily focused on using rigorous, time-intensive design studios and project labs as a central arena for developing and integrating multiple skills. The studios and labs are bolstered by a core component of course knowledge in the materials, technology and contemporary challenges of the built environment professions.

All our majors strongly emphasize the rich tradition of an innovative approach to learn-by-doing within a comprehensive university context. We foster connections with the arts and sciences, humanities and the polytechnic professions.

Throughout your education, you will take classes with other majors and receive instruction in other departments. As our students, we are committed to providing access to the classes you need to graduate and those you want to meet your personal goals. Be sure to look at the whole of the college and the University to get a good sense of the full palette of educational and co-curricular opportunities you will have once you select a major and apply to Cal Poly.

Look into the individual department descriptions and links to their more detailed web pages. Many applicants have found that they were unaware of what the different professions do or how they differ. Our mission is to help you find the best fit for your talents and interests. You may only select one first choice major on your application to Cal Poly. If your interests span more than one major in the college, you also have the option to identify a second choice major. We encourage you to compare us to other leading universities to understand better what we offer. Suppose you are willing and eager to commit to a professional undergraduate degree with us. In that case, you will earn a degree that enables you to become a professional in your field without attending graduate school and, for those professions that require it, to become licensed in California and other states.

If you are considering our graduate programs, our emphasis on exposure to leading practitioners and career preparedness will equip you for your field's theoretical components and the profession's current practices. Below, you will find brief descriptions of the five departments that make up the College of Architecture and Environmental Design at Cal Poly.

Housing Program Requirement

As part of Cal Poly’s commitment to building a well-rounded, nurturing support system that positively impacts academics and student life, college students must live on campus for their first two years. Students are notified of the two-year housing program requirement when admitted to Cal Poly.

Living on campus is an excellent opportunity to enhance your connections with the entire Cal Poly community while having resources easily accessible that support academics, inclusion and well-being.

Automatic housing grants are provided to cover a portion of campus housing fees for students with the greatest financial need. To learn more, visit the University Housing website.

Architectural Engineering

The architectural engineering (ARCE) curriculum, one of the most demanding in the University, prepares the student for a professional career in the structural design of buildings. This program is unique because it goes beyond sound fundamentals of science and mathematics to stress the practical application of interdisciplinary design principles. ARCE students develop much-needed professional interaction skills through exposure to the other design and construction disciplines. The program requires skills and aptitudes in mathematics, sciences and deductive thinking. This program allows the student to use these rudimentary skills as a basis for the interactive, creative development of a total design concept.

The curriculum is firmly structured and rigorous. It includes sequences in:

  • Graphics and computer-aided drafting
  • Architectural design, history and practice
  • Soil mechanics and laboratory
  • Structural mechanics and systems
  • Computer practice in structural engineering
  • Design fundamentals of structural materials
  • Structural design laboratories

Design laboratories are presented in a studio format that emphasizes Learn by Doing. Theoretical learning is supported by the intellectual freedom of experimental projects and the discipline of hands-on design problems.

The four-year Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. Graduates typically become registered as structural engineers. ARCE graduates are among the most sought-after in the country, with a high record of successful, gainful employment and advanced studies.

Undergraduate architectural engineering students may apply to the blended track of the Master of Science in Architectural Engineering (MSAE) program which provides a streamlined pathway toward completing both degrees. 

More info on the ARCE department is on the About Page.

Architectural Engineering Department Information:

department Department head resources
Engineering West Bldg. #21
Room 110
Allen Estes
Phone: 805-756-1314
Fax: 805-756-6054

ARCE Information
Cal Poly Admissions

Architectural Engineering
Cal Poly State University
San Luis Obispo, CA  93407

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The architecture program is structured to develop and advance the design and technical skills that, coupled with studies in the humanities and communication, prepare students for entry into the profession's vast world of opportunities. As a social art, architecture is a highly regarded profession in America today, and there are myriad career choices within its domain.

Graduates find success not only in the customary roles for design and construction but also in fields ranging from media animation to manufacturing and corporate facility management to ecology.

Because opportunities in architecture are multi-faceted, the program is intentionally broad - a rich educational foundation from which to design one's role in today's complex world. No other college offers so much direct exposure to the different disciplines in the planning, design and construction industry. This occurs through interaction and joint projects among and within the CAED's five departments.

While holistic in scope, the architecture program offers areas of particular focus, culminating in a capstone project that encourages individuality, specialization and technical expertise. The five-year Bachelor of Architecture degree program is accredited by the National Architectural Accreditation Board (NAAB) and is the first professional degree leading to professional registration as an architect.

The curriculum comprises four mutually reinforcing sequences of courses:

  • Design: Taught in highly interactive studios with relevant practice courses concurrently scheduled
  • Graphic Communication: Skills and abilities essential in today's marketplace
  • Architectural Practice that addresses materials, construction and, as Cal Poly's signature, learn-by-doing experiences
  • Math, Physics, Structural Engineering, Architectural Science, History, Computer Applications, Theory and Criticism, and Professional Electives

Undergraduate architecture students may request permission to enroll in Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP) or in Master of Business Administration graduate level courses in their 4th or 5th year, and upon completion of the BArch degree can formally apply for admission to those master’s programs.  

More info on the ARCH department is on the About Page.

Architecture Department Information:

Department department head resources
Architecture Building #5
Room 212A

Mark Cabrinha
Phone: 805-756-5988
Fax: 805-756-1500

ARCH Information
Cal Poly Admissions

Architecture Department
Cal Poly State University

San Luis Obispo, CA  93407


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City & Regional Planning

The City and Regional Planning (CRP) curriculum prepares students for professional practice as community planners or private consultants. Graduates achieve practical, entry-level professional work through applied learning in a studio mode with community-based case studies. The program offers two nationally accredited and complementary degrees:

The Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP) program, through laboratory, lecture and seminar coursework, allows students to build upon their undergraduate preparation. The program is broadly balanced with an emphasis on land use and development options or environmental and regional planning.

The four-year Bachelor of Science in City and Regional Planning (BSCRP) offers unique and excellent preparation in physical planning and urban design with opportunities for individual focus on transportation and infrastructure, economic development, environmental planning, and government and public management.

Through projects involving local communities, both programs build from analytic and design foundations to create practical applications of communication and computer skills. Emphasis on collaborative teamwork with practical assignments ranging from formulating city-scale plans to designing precise residential and commercial projects. Faculty academic and professional backgrounds cover a wide range of planning areas with academic solid support from practicing professionals.

The department actively participates in interdisciplinary labs, which are taught by faculty from the departments of architecture, landscape architecture and construction management in such areas as housing, feasibility studies, community design and sustainable environments.

More info on the CRP department is on the About Page.

City & Regional Planning Department Information:

Department department head resources
Architecture Building #5
Room 313
Amir Hajrasouliha
Phone: 805-756-1315
Fax: 805-756-1340
CRP Information
Cal Poly Admissions

City & Regional Planning
Cal Poly State University

San Luis Obispo, CA  93407


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Construction Management

Professional constructors work in one of the fastest-growing areas of national employment. The construction management (CM) curriculum provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to work toward professional leadership roles. From the department's central place within the CAED, the faculty integrates architectural, engineering and construction principles required for successful competition in today's national and international construction communities.

In addition to basic math and science knowledge and skills, the program initially stresses written and oral communication, natural sciences, social sciences, and the arts and humanities - especially architecture. Throughout the curriculum, construction management emphasizes theoretical knowledge in technical and managerial disciplines, current practices and applications of these theoretical principles, disciplined reasoning abilities and excellent communication skills.

Interaction with the other CAED disciplines is an invaluable factor in understanding the impact of construction on the physical environment and human behavior. In addition, interaction fosters early exposure to mutual respect and cooperation among allied professionals.

The four-year Bachelor of Science in Construction Management degree program focuses student work on practical problems in the construction industry, such as:

  • Construction methods and procedures
  • Construction cost estimating
  • Project and firm organization, as well as management
  • Critical-path planning
  • Budgeting and cost control
  • Value engineering
  • Computer usage
  • Asset management

CM alumni have an impressive record of rising rapidly to success in their professional careers. They are directly involved in shaping the built environment. These achievements attest to the value of the department's graduates. The program's strong curriculum and outstanding students ensure that the needs of the industry are met.

More info on the CM department is on the About Page.

Construction Management Department Information:

Department Department head resources
Construction Innovations Center
Building 186, Room A100
Jeong Woo
Phone: 805-756-1323
Fax: 805-756-5740
CM Information
Cal Poly Admissions
Construction Management
Cal Poly State University
San Luis Obispo, CA  93407

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Landscape Architecture

The Landscape Architecture Department prepares students for professional careers dedicated to the design, planning, and management of landscapes essential to the well-being of a healthy society and natural environment. Graduates are workforce ready and have strong foundations in design, sustainable construction technologies, digital representation, and interdisciplinary collaboration.

Within the curriculum, students engage with real sites and clients throughout California while addressing contemporary issues and problems facing our natural and urban environments. The five-year Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) degree program is accredited by the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board (LAAB) and is the first professional degree leading to professional registration as a landscape architect. It has a strong core of courses in design and includes the following areas of study: 

  • Visual and Digital Communication
  • Landscape Ecology
  • Landscape History and Theory
  • Cultural Environments
  • Sustainable Landscape Construction
  • Professional Practice
  • Landscape Analysis, Assessment and Planning
  • Site Planning and Design
  • Urban and Community Planning

Students develop professional teamwork and interdisciplinary practice skills through team teaching, student teamwork and collaboration with other disciplines within the CAED and Cal Poly.  Students develop a global perspective of the profession through international study and travel opportunities and the ongoing integration of multicultural and diverse environmental issues in coursework.

Landscape architecture students may request permission to enroll in Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP) or in Master of Business Administration graduate level courses in their 4th or 5th year, and upon completion of the BLA degree can formally apply for admission to those master’s programs.

More info on the LA department is on the About Page.

Landscape Architecture Department Information:

Department department head   resources
Walter F. Dexter Building #34, Room 251

Beverly Bass

Phone: 805-756-2864
Fax: 805-756-5740
LA Information
Cal Poly Admissions
Landscape Architecture Department
Cal Poly State University
San Luis Obispo, CA  93407


CAED Master's Programs and Minors

The College of Architecture and Environmental Design offers two Master's Degree Programs, MS Architectural Engineering and Master of City and Regional Planning. 

The Master of Science in Architectural Engineering is a two-year program for students with a bachelor of science in civil, architectural or structural engineering with an emphasis in structures. The program was developed for those individuals interested in strengthening their understanding of structural behavior, becoming more familiar with the relationship between structures, architecture, and construction, plus becoming familiar with current design and analysis trends in the structural engineering profession. The program is ideal for continuing engineering students and individuals who have graduated and wish to re-enter academia after gaining valuable work experience. For those students still enrolled at Cal Poly, the Blended Program allows them to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering and a Master of Science in Architectural Engineering simultaneously. 

To learn more about the Master of Science in Architectural Engineering, visit ARCE's web page.

The Master of City & Regional Planning degree (MCRP) is an applied, comprehensive, and professionally-based program. It is open to students with high standards of academic achievement who wish to pursue careers in city and regional planning. It is structured to prepare graduates to function in a general context of city planning. The core courses cover planning theory, methods, law, and formulation and implementation of plans and policies. The MCRP program is structured to meet the needs of those who have earned baccalaureate degrees in various disciplines, including environmental studies, economics, business, geography, architecture, landscape architecture, civil engineering, political science, environmental or urban studies, natural resources management, and ecology. The City & Regional Planning Department jointly offer the MCRP degree with the Master of Science in Engineering with a specialization in transportation planning.

To learn more about the Master of City & Regional Planning Program, visit CRP's web page.


In addition to Master's Degree Programs, the CAED offers eight minors for students seeking to complement or bolster their undergraduate major. 

  • Architectural Engineering Minor
  • Architecture Minor
  • City and Regional Planning Minor
  • Construction Management Minor
  • Cross Disciplinary Studies in Heavy Civil Minor
  • Landscape Architecture Minor
  • Real Property Development Minor
  • Sustainable Environments Minor

To learn more about each minor and apply, please visit the CAED Minors page.

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Giving to the CAED

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Johanna Hurme design

The CAED Spring 2024 Hearst Lecture Series features Johanna Hurme on Friday, May 10, 2024 at 5:00 p.m. PST at the Business Rotunda (03-213).

Click for Calendar